Kevin Smith Says One Of His Biggest Movies Is Being Held ‘Hostage’ By Harvey Weinstein

So much is available on streamers, and yet plenty of films fall through the cracks. For instance, did you know you still can’t legally stream Cocoon, the sixth highest grossing movie of 1985? The same goes for Dogma, Kevin Smith’s all-star, debatably blasphemous religious epic and the biggest moneymaker in his View Askew-verse. It’s not on any streamers and the Blu-ray is out of print, leaving consumers with only an old, low-res DVD. What’s going on there?

In a new interview with The Wrap, Smith explains the convoluted story of why Dogma is lurking in copyright purgatory, but the short version: It’s Harvey Weinstein’s fault. Smith made Dogma for Miramax, when it was still run by the Weinstein brothers but owned by Disney. Then Disney CEO Michael Eisner balked at the idea of releasing Dogma, fearing the religious backlash. So Weinstein sold the theatrical rights to Lionsgate (“Pre-Katniss Everdeen and the vampires that sparkle,” as Smith put it), but retained the rights.

Jump to fall of 2017 and Smith got a call from Weinstein, asking if he’d be interested in doing a sequel or series or something with Dogma. A week later, reports of Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual misconduct came out. Smith, like most in the industry, cut ties with him. Meanwhile, Dogma’s rights got lost in the shuffle.

Smith tried to buy back the rights, but Weinstein was asking a fortune for it. Besides, he said, “we felt very dirty about because we didn’t want to give him money.” But at the same time, it’s his movie. “He’s holding it hostage. My movie about angels is owned by the devil himself. And if there’s only one way out of this, maybe we could buy it away.”

The rights are now owned by some mystery company, which Smith thinks might secretly be owned by Weinstein. He’s still working on trying to get it back. “My movie about heaven is in limbo,” he said. “What sucks is that he’s also sitting his fat ass on my movie. And the right thing to do would have been to sell it back to me even if you didn’t want to sell for the price that I first said.” He added, “Tell us what that price is and sell me my self-expression back.”

Dogma was Smith’s follow-up to Chasing Amy, and it was his biggest movie to date. It stars Linda Fiorentino as an abortion clinic counselor related to Jesus Christ who goes on an epic journey involving murderous renegade angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon), a nicer but easily agitated angel (Alan Rickman), a demon (Jason Lee), an apostle (Chris Rock), a muse (Salma Hayek), a cardinal (George Carlin), and, of course God (played by both Bud Cort and Alanis Morissette). Well, at least you can watch Clerks III.

(Via The Wrap)